Who are Religious Educators Anyway?

Sep 30, 2021 | Beacon, News, RE-Flections

Religious education is a rather amorphous term – a catch all for Sunday school, daycare, rites of passage, and faith building throughout the lifespan. Those that are called to become religious professionals often end up working as a religious educator, and sometimes through a circuitous route. You can read about Amanda Alice’s route to serving East Shore as a religious educator here. And then, once landing in the world of religious education, you encounter the UUA Credentialing Program which serves to promote professional development, standards, mentoring, accountability, and recognition in the field. The program encourages in-depth study and requires demonstrated competency in the many facets of lifespan religious education, primarily through the development of a portfolio.

The credentialing program helps to provide stronger, more vital religious education programs as religious educators integrate their professional learnings into their congregations. There’s also the assurance that a religious educator has met professional development standards in religious education and is held accountable to professional ethics guidelines by the UUA. We’re confident that a well-trained religious educator is more equipped with the proper tools to serve as a resource to congregation (parents, families, children, youth, lay leadership, ministerial colleague) in the many areas of religious education leadership.

The following was submitted by amanda alice’s Credentialing Mentor, Sara D. Cloe, CRE (retired)

I’m a retired religious educator who is serving as a volunteer mentor for my colleagues in the UUA Credentialing program. I served three UU congregations during my 20-year career. I began in 1998 at the UU Community Church of Washington County in Hillsboro, OR. I served the UU Church of Vancouver, WA. next and finished my tenure as a religious educator at West Hills UU Fellowship in Portland, OR as interim Director of Religious Education. I earned my Credential in 2011 and served as mentor before retirement in late 2018. I resumed my mentorship in 2020. I’m so pleased to be mentoring Amanda Alice Uluhan of East Shore!

Amanda and I have met for at least one hour each month via Zoom since May 2020 to discuss her credentialing work and set goals for next steps on her journey. Her goal is to complete her portfolio and appear before the Religious Education Credentialing Committee for an interview in April 2022. Amanda has been reading books, attending Renaissance modules, and conferring with other colleagues about the process. She has been doing most of this behind the scenes, while working full-time and taking care of her young family!

I hope that you will envision with me a time when East Shore will be inundated by young families! Amanda is seen by them as a wise and skilled leader and her family as an example of the way diverse families are accepted by East Shore. These families bring the children to your congregation to reflect on our highest hopes for the future. We side with love! Families feel that they will be served by the congregation as they serve their communities, striving to be a positive force for good in our world.